Pump Prices Shoot Upward Like Cupid's Arrow

Phoenix, Ariz., Feb. 16, 2012. For many, love was in the air this week—but not at the gas pump, as prices increased for the seventh straight week. Statewide, the price of fuel has increased nearly 6 cents to $3.492 per gallon. Nationwide, the average fuel price climbed 3.5 cents to $3.523 per gallon.
The national fuel average has surpassed the $3.50 per gallon mark in record time, and recent history suggests that when prices cross that threshold they tend to stay there for some time. When the all-time record was reached in 2008, the $3.50 mark wasn’t breached until April 21 and stayed there for 138 consecutive days. Last year, fuel prices didn't eclipse $3.50 gal until March 8 and lingered at or above that price point for 203 consecutive days. This year, national prices topped $3.50 gal on Sat., February 11.
“In the record-setting year of 2008, Arizona’s fuel price average spent 93 days at or above $3.50 per gallon from May to Sept.,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “The fact that the state’s average is just a penny shy from this price point so early in the year signals higher prices this summer, and possibly throughout the year.”
According to the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS), there are 19 counties in the U.S. with a fuel price average more than $4.00 per gallon, while nine counties have yet to surpass the $3.00 per gal mark. The table below shows a list of the highest and lowest paying counties in Arizona and the increase so far this month:

County Price on 2/1/2012 Increase in cents from 2/1/2012
Apache $3.31 +12.0
Pima $3.27 +10.6
Gila $3.359 +9.7
Yuma $3.486 +8.9
La Paz $3.497 +5.9
Coconino $3.482 +2.6

Tucson and Scottsdale hold the low and high state fuel averages at $3.368 and $3.580, respectively. Wyoming and California hold the low and high price extremes for the lower 48 states at $3.030 and $3.908, respectively. Currently, 25 states, including the District of Columbia, hold fuel averages that are $3.50 per gallon or higher.

City Today’s Price Change from Last Week Premium Diesel Last Year’s Price
East Valley (Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Apache Junction, Queen Creek) $3.503 +5.9 $3.748 $3.844 $3.171
Flagstaff $3.524 +7.3 $3.687 $4.000 $3.285
Glendale $3.506 +6.9 $3.759 $3.899 $3.177
Peoria $3.489 +7.1 $3.742 $3.919 $3.188
Phoenix (city) $3.510 +6.0 $3.765 $3.888 $3.176
Pima County $3.378 +7.3 $3.590 $3.944 $3.075
Prescott (Tri-Cities) $3.465 +4.1 $3.657 $3.900 $3.134
Scottsdale (Scottsdale, Fountain Hills) $3.580 +4.7 $3.856 $3.974 $3.231
Tucson $3.368 +7.4 $3.584 $3.929 $3.067
Yuma $3.574 +4.7 $3.768 $3.878 $3.159
Statewide $3.492 +5.9 $3.727 $3.920 $3.172
National $3.523 +3.5 $3.783 $3.938 $3.133
E-85 $3.106 +0.9 - - $2.980
*E85 MPG/BTU adjusted price $4.087 +0.9 - - $3.922

AAA has a variety of resources to help motorists save on fuel:

*The BTU-adjusted price of E-85 is the nationwide average price of E-85 adjusted to reflect the lower energy content as expressed in British Thermal Units. The BTU-adjusted price is calculated and displayed as part of AAA's Fuel Gauge Report because according to the Energy Information Administration, E-85 delivers approximately 25 percent fewer BTUs by volume than conventional gasoline. Because "flexible fuel" vehicles can operate on conventional fuel and E-85, the BTU-adjusted price of E-85 is essential to understanding the cost implications of each fuel choice for consumers.
AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report includes data from gasoline stations in every Arizona community. Local prices in some communities might be higher or lower than the averages shown here. This service is updated daily by the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) with average national, state and local prices for gasoline, diesel and E-85. Every day more than 100,000 stations are surveyed in cooperation with Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability.